Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Thought-Controlled Prosthetics?

17.06.2002


The long-sought ability to control the movement of prosthetic limbs with brain waves has edged a little closer to reality.

In experiments published in the June 7 issue of the journal Science, monkeys were able to move balls around in 3D space on a computer screen just by thinking about it. With a little practice, they got even better at it.

"They achieved nearly the same accuracy and speed as normal arm movements," said senior author Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., of the Department of Bioengineering at Arizona State University and the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego.



To begin with, two monkeys learned a computer game that required moving balls around in 3D space on the screen. The balls moved in response to the monkeys’ arm movements. The monkeys were rewarded for playing and were allowed to stop when they tired of it.

Then tiny electrodes were painlessly implanted in the monkeys’ brains to record the motor control signals emitted when they moved their arms to play the game. The recorded signals were matched against specific arm/ball movements.

Finally, the monkeys were encouraged to play the game without using their arms. They had to move the balls on the screen using brain signals that corresponded with the appropriate arm movements.

At first they tried to use their arms. But as they realized they could move the balls without moving their arms, they relaxed their arms and continued the game using thought control. As they played, their game skills improved.

Controlling the movement of a prosthetic limb, however, would require learning a wider range of movements, so the two monkeys were given new tasks and 180-degree changes in directions.

"There was no significant difference between the novel and trained target hit rates in either animal, and both monkeys improved their performance with daily practice," the researchers reported.

Even when the monkeys were not allowed to first practice the movements with their arms, they still learned through visual feedback to control the computer images with their brain waves. This suggests that people who are paralyzed and have not had a chance to practice with their arms could still learn to move objects with thought control.

Schwartz’s group cited recent case studies indicating that motor control centers are still active in the brain even after years of paralysis. This activity might be harnessed to control a prosthesis, but the technique and the electrodes used in the current experiments are not yet ready for human testing.

Schwartz’s group is working in the relatively new area of neuroprosthetics. His earlier research in this area was supported by a Special Opportunity Award from The Whitaker Foundation. The lead author on the current paper is Whitaker graduate fellow Dawn Taylor of Arizona State’s Department of Bioengineering.

Other groups have reported some early successes in neuroprosthetic research, mostly in animal experiments. Two years ago, researchers at Case Western Reserve University reported activating a prosthetic implant using human brain waves. The experiments did not require implanting electrodes in the brain.

A quadriplegic wearing a hat dotted with electrodes gained mental control of an arm prosthesis after a series of training sessions in which he learned to regulate his beta-rhythm through biofeedback.

He learned to move a cursor up or down on a computer screen just by thinking about it. Then he was connected to the neuroprosthesis. By thinking about moving the cursor up, he opened his hand, and by thinking "down," his hand closed. He demonstrated using the device to pick up and hold objects like a drinking glass and a fork.

Contact:
Andrew Schwartz, NSI
Frank Blanchard, Whitaker Foundation

Frank Blanchard | EurekAlert
Further information:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/296/5574/1829/DC1

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Custom-tailored strategy against glioblastomas
26.09.2016 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development

28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering

Innovate coating extends the life of materials for industrial use

28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market

28.09.2016 | Business and Finance

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>